Saturday, November 11, 2006

Pastor Simeon Reports

The following is from an interview I conducted with Pastor Simeon Nomo at the conclusion of last weekend's Regional Convention in Obala, the first of its kind in the UMC, Cameroon. Simeon was in charge of organizing the proceedings, and here's his report:

"For the very first regional convention, I think it went on very well … The first day was Friday. We had two preachers: Pastor Jean-Blaise from Monatele and Rev. Wesley Magruder. Everything went on very well. The attendance was about 190 people. People really enjoyed it. All the preaching was evangelistic … Every preacher talked about what it meant to be a United Methodist Christian today. So Jean-Blaise talked about the beginning of Methodism – John Wesley, how the name came about … Rev. Wesley went along the same lines.

"The second day was Saturday … everything started by 9:30. I was very surprised – everyone came on time! It’s true that many people in Obala are busy at the market on Saturday morning, but we had about 120 people for the morning service. Pastor Monique talked about the role of the woman in the Methodist church, and I think she spoke very well. She gave advice to women – how they should behave in the church, how they should be hard-working, how they should be engaged in the work of God, and how to be an example in their homes. It was very nice. After Monique, Pastor Seraphin Oum preached. He preached on the Holy Spirit – Methodists are people who are filled with the Holy Spirit. We should learn to listen to the Spirit.

"In the afternoon session, we started at 4 pm … The crowd was more than 200 people. Pastor Lemec preached on the Scripture in which Jesus said, ‘Come to me all you who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.’ We sensed the presence of the Spirit; we felt that the Lord touched many lives. At the end, he called everyone to the front in an altar call, and all of the pastors came up and laid hands on people in prayer. It was fantastic – people really enjoyed it! The preacher emphasized the fact that we all have problems – it is not a sin to have a problem! These problems are simply an experience that we are passing through, and God is watching to see if we truly believe in Him and He will help us through our trials and problems.

"On Sunday morning, I preached on the integrity of the United Methodist Christian. I told them that we should walk in honesty and in holiness. And I emphasized that integrity is not just the absence of sin, but is a disciplined life … I called people to go back to that new life. I said, ‘As you are going back from this very first convention, are you ready to go back and start a new life? Can people trust you? Can someone give you money and trust you to keep it? Go back and change your lives! Integrity starts in your house.’ I told them to be disciplined, because we are Methodists!"